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Change takes time, don’t feel that you need to do it all in January

December 20, 2022  |  by Gareth Nicholson

As we come into the New Year you will hear lots of inspirational articles trying to get you to embrace the new start, Dry January, Go to the Gym, Be more active! The message I would like to promote is that it’s ok to not.

It’s ok to do nothing. After a busy year and the expense of Christmas, I think it just fine to say “I made it!” “I’m still here”.

Don’t be in a rush to change anything. There are 12 months to the year and when you are ready to make a change, when you want to do something challenging, then do it when it’s right for you. You will find you have a much higher chance of success that way.

The power of positivity is well linked to articles on mental health, however the power of realistic thinking should be far more encouraged. How many New Year resolutions get forgotten within the first few weeks, going to the gym and eating healthily become fads and benefits fade?

So, this year we would like to encourage a new approach for looking after your wellbeing, based purely about being realistic, planning over the year rather than the first month and learning that it’s ok if you fail at tasks, not everything is achievable after all.

Here are our top 10 tips on realistic thinking for your wellbeing

  1. Create a list of what you want to achieve this year.
  2. Plan on when is best to take on each task/goal.
  3. Accept you won’t reach all your goals and that is ok.
  4. Learn from setbacks and be realistic with goals.
  5. Go at your pace not what is expected by others.
  6. Encourage others to join in, motivation is easier when others are involved.
  7. Look at the whole picture – over your lifetime, a day, a week or even a month of not doing anything doesn’t mean you have failed, it’s important not to overstretch.
  8. Be true to yourself – if you aren’t an artist don’t paint, if you aren’t sporty don’t expect quick success in a sports challenge. Reflect on what makes you unique, what your interest or passion is and embrace that.
  9. Over 12 months you might forget success and failures so make a diary, set yourself up for the following year.
  10. In a climate of financial insecurity, look for cheap or free alternatives like walking, jogging, craftwork, baking, sea swimming, crosswords and brain games or search YouTube for gems like mindfulness exercises, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, yoga and meditation.

Planning for wellbeing over a whole year will present obstacles and hurdles along the way, but that’s ok. Realistic thinking will prepare us to walk around the obstacles rather than face the unrealistic thought that we have to climb jump or clamber over everything in our way.

Did you find this helpful?

We have lots of other resources with useful information and advice on how you can look after and support your mental health and wellbeing.

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